“We always had hope,” Glossip’s legal team, supporters react to unexpected stay of execution

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McALESTER, Okla. -- Glossip's legal team was confident in the information they had gathered over the past few weeks.

Although a number of legal experts have said there was a very slim chance the court would stay the execution, that is exactly what happened. Everything was in place at the state penitentiary for the execution to happen, and it all came to a halt around noon.

The governor refused to issue a stay of execution numerous times, and a last-minute motion was filed at the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals late Tuesday. A legal battle in the eleventh hour spared Richard Glossip from lethal injection.

"We always had hope, and hope came through," attorney Don Knight said.

Knight and his legal team dug up new evidence in the 18-year-old case. It proved to be enough for the court to grant a stay.

"I would say we struck a nerve. The information we have is being taken seriously, like it should be," Knight said.

Knight was with Glossip when he got the news.

"It sort of took his breath away for a second, and he said, 'hell yes,' and then punched the glass and I punched the glass," Knight said. "It was a really wonderful moment," Knight said.

"It just feels good. It feels like, at this point, a small bit of vindication. Hopefully, you know, the courts will give us the big picture, which would be a new trial, and that's what I'm hoping for," Glossip said. "That's all I'm asking for is just a fair trial. Give me a fair trial, let me put on my defense, and let a jury see everything and not just bits and pieces."

In recent months, support for Richard Glossip has swelled. Hundreds of thousands of letters have come in from around the world.

"They keep bringing in these piles of letters, he reads every single one," supporter Kim Van Atta said.

Leading the pack of Glossip's supporters is Sister Helen Prejean, the famous Catholic nun and staunch opponent of the death penalty.

"I think he was free to go to his death or not go to his death, I've never met a man like Richard Glossip," Prejean said.

"I've been his closest friend for 16 years now and I think it's really important that everybody know this is the Richard I've known for 16 years. He didn't suddenly become this wise person, this is Richard Glossip," Kim Van Atta said.

Supporter Crystal Martinez drove from California to witness the execution.

"I thought this was going to be the worst day of my life," Martinez said.

Some of Glossip's family members traveled to McAlester, for moral support, rather than to witness his death. His cousin, Donna Smith said Glossip's children were on their way to the prison when they got the news of the stay and made a U-turn.

Glossip woke up Wednesday morning thinking it would be his last day alive. He had his last meal and had been x-rayed for contraband. Then five justices decided this case needs another look.

"If we get a trial with these witnesses, I don't think there's any way the state convicts, and if that's not innocence, I don't know what is," Knight said.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater issued a brief statement, "This is a prudent way for the Court to proceed. I respect that."

Some of Barry Van Treese's family members were at the prison to witness the execution, but they left - without giving a statement - as soon as the ruling came down.

While Glossip has always maintained his innocence, his attorneys are getting back to work because they only have two weeks to beef up their case.

His latest defense team claims the hit man, Justin Sneed, was a meth addict and acted on his own in the murder of Barry Van Treese.

We spoke with Glossip's daughter last week who has never stopped fighting for her dad.

"I think what happened to Barry Van Treese's family is horrible and nobody deserves that but I don't think two innocent men should have to die," Christina Glossip-Hodge said.

Five justices voted in favor of the emergency stay.

The execution has been reset to September 30.

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